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West's policy failures, people smugglers trigger refugee flood

来源: chinanews.com 作者: 2015-09-08 10:51:57

  The failure of the United States and its coalition allies to stabilize and truly democratize the Middle East after bringing down governments in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan is a major cause of today's flood of refugee, a Hungarian expert said.

  Western powers' military interventions in the Middle East and north Africa have destabilized Afghanistan and Iraq and, indirectly, caused the civil war in Syria, Dr. Zoltan Galik, a European integration and security policy expert, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

  The chaos in north and sub-Saharan Africa was the consequence of the social unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, leading to instability in Libya, Eritrea, Mali and other countries, he added.

  And while Libyan refugees were a major concern to the European Union (EU) as they came northward through Italy, Hungary has been impacted by Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan asylum-seekers, said Galik, who is also an associate professor at Budapest Corvinus University.

  People have been seeking to escape wars and terrorism since the destabilization began, he said, adding that migration had remained below the radar of Western Europe until professional people-smugglers stepped in.

  The human-traffickers are highly organized professionals working with sophisticated technology including mobile phones and GPS, and their appearance goaded many people who had wanted to leave to finally take action.

  As to why these people chose to move towards Europe rather than the affluent Arab lands such as Saudi Arabia or the Emirates, Galik noted that religious similarities were the only feature they had in common.

  Those Arab countries have not only locked down their borders, but also refused to integrate anyone coming from elsewhere, including professionals, he explained.

  Europe, on the other hand, has always been open to refugees, in part because influxes of refugees tend to boost economies, while the refugees are seeking wealthier countries with social systems that can help them re-start their lives and get back on their feet quickly, Galik said.

  In the past years, Western Europe has assimilated multiple waves of refugees, including a major wave from Afghanistan in the early 2000s.

  According to Galik, Germany, which has a very liberal integration policy, is expected to accept some 800,000 asylum seekers in 2015, four times the number for 2014.

  While Britain might be a natural destination for English-speaking refugees, the country is not part of the Schengen agreement governing EU borders and it has a completely different policy, said the expert.

  Like Britain, EU countries such as Sweden, Austria and France are also hesitant to accept more refugees.

  Many EU members including Hungary have accused the EU of a lack of direction in face of the refugee crisis, said Galik.

  However, member countries' refusal to delegate more authority to Brussels is partly a reason for the difficulties.

  Migration and refugee policy is a component of cooperation in internal affairs and the administration of justice, but EU member states have refused to implement the policy at supranational level.

  Instead, it is an area requiring the voluntary cooperation of the members and there is no uniform set of rules within the EU on refugee management.

  The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees was issued by the United Nations, while the Dublin Regulation III of 2013 provides for the resettlement of refugees within the EU if individual member states face "a sudden influx of third country nationals in need" but contains no specifics.

  This, said Galik, has led to an untenable situation that no amount of finger-pointing will change. A joint European resolution is needed as well as emergency funding for border countries such as Greece, Italy and now Hungary.

  The EU also needs to set up uniform rules on which countries to consider safe and which to accept asylum-seekers, and on how to divide up arrivals among member states.

  In short, the expert said, cooperation among EU countries is essential to manage the crisis and they will have to turn certain authority over to Brussels to achieve a positive outcome.


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